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Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

UPDATE: On Thursday, June 23, the Senate passed this legislation by a 64-34 vote. On Friday, June 24, the US House passed the bill by a 234-193 vote. The bill now goes to the President’s desk to sign it into law.

Two weeks ago, we walked through the “framework” put forth by 20 Senators (10 from each side of the aisle) on gun control. Yesterday, the Senate published and voted to the floor the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act”, which contains a number of initiatives said to be aimed at preventing future mass murders. This legislation and earlier legislation passed by the House of Representatives both snapped to the top of the agenda after murdering psychopaths shot up a shopping center in Buffalo, NY, and an elementary school in Uvalde, TX. Here’s the bill (PDF) in “discussion draft” format. Below, we walk you through what’s in this bill.

Enhanced Background Checks for 18-21 Year Olds

Instead of raising the legal age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21, Senators agreed to create a system for “enhanced background checks” for those people 18-20 years of age who are purchasing a rifle. They did not discuss changing the legal age to buy a pistol.

The “enhanced background check” will include data on the 18-20 year old’s mental health, and also a call to their local police to see if the individual has been in trouble with the law. Furthermore, although they did not call it such, this new system is just a waiting period for anyone under 21 to buy a gun.

If you’re 19 and want to purchase a rifle, you will wait 3 days. You might wait up to 10 days for the FBI to call your local police to see if you’re “in crisis” or if the police have had any negative interactions with you.

It’s a waiting period. Something tells me that at some point, someone is going to start looking at kids’ social media accounts. That’s just my opinion.

Red Flag Laws

The bill does not specifically create a national red flag law, but rather “funds red flag laws” in every state. Funding is required for the courts to adjudicate a red flag request and for the individual in question to be examined for the court to determine if he or she is a danger to themselves or other people.

The bill does not outline specifically what’s required to protect a person’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights in the case of a red flag request. Furthermore, when someone does get “red flagged”, they are essentially guilty until proven innocent. And, if you are red flagged, you have to hire the attorney to prove yourself innocent.

Red Flag laws cause similar results to petty litigation. You can sue someone for just about anything; however, if you sue me, I can’t just say “Bah! That’s crap!” No, I have to defend myself in court. Lawyers are not cheap. So not only are you being red flagged, but you have to pay a lawyer to fight the charge.

Guilty until proven innocent, and any “Karen” can red flag you into court. I understand the intent of red flag laws, but currently, they are too ripe for abuse to be implemented nationwide.

Straw Purchases

As I mentioned in our previous article, straw purchases – buying a gun for someone who can’t pass the background check – are already illegal. The Senate, not sure why, added 5 years to the sentence for straw purchases, and if the gun is used in a homicide, the penalty goes up to 25 years.

No big change here. Don’t buy a gun for a felon. Simple as that.

Redefining “FFL”

This one is weird. I guess they’re trying to narrow the field of “private firearms sales” by redefining who the ATF regards as a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL). The legislation defines ‘dealer’ as someone who is repetitively making a profit by selling guns.

Again, I get the intent here: they want to stop illegal gun trafficking. But do illegal gun traffickers care? No, they’re not going to stop trafficking in guns. That’s already illegal. They’re certainly not going to get a NICS account and start doing background checks on illegal sales.

And while they didn’t address the “gun show loophole” here, I will. There’s no “loophole.” What gun grabbers consistently refer to as the “gun show loophole” is this: an FFL illegally winks and nods to an individual at a gun show who does not pass the NICS background check, and then meets that individual in the parking lot, and sells them a gun anyway.

It’s not a “loophole.” It’s illegal. Any legitimate FFL would never do this, because they’d lose their license – their FFL – and then they would not be a gun dealer anymore. It’s no different than a bar owner knowingly serving drinks to underage individuals. It’s illegal.

The “Boyfriend” Loophole

Today, if one spouse or another is convicted of domestic abuse, that person cannot purchase or own firearms. However, given today’s acceptance of shacking up among couples, that law did not allow for the prosecution of “the boyfriend” as an abuser. This legislation makes it illegal for anyone convicted of domestic abuse – even if you were never married – to buy or own a firearm.

Mental Health

There is hundreds of millions of dollars in this legislation for “mental health”, but there are few specifics. Here are the highlights.

I understand the need for major mental health initiatives, but this is government speak for “more money for government.” Prime example is “$240m for awareness of mental health issues among school kids”. Who determines (a) what that even means and (b) how that money gets spent? Government does. It’s just a slush fund for Congress to be able to say we “did something”.

School Safety

Chump change. $300 million for “security, training, and school safety efforts.” Nothing about guards for schools. Nothing about training school employees to be armed and ready to stop an intruder. Nothing. In fact, it specifically prohibits ESEA funding from being used for weapons training.

Uvalde should teach us that protecting our school children is not optional. The Uvalde Police seemed to believe it is. We’ve just learned today that at least 4 Uvalde Police Officers were in the school building for AN HOUR while the murdering psychopath killed children. AN HOUR! Either you hire people willing to run to the sound of the guns, or you don’t. It’s that simple.

Why do we protect our politicians with guns but put our children in gun free zones?

Fast & Furious

Years after the Obama Administration and then Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt by Congress for “Fast & Furious”, the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” actually has a section overtly stating the PROHIBITION ON FIREARMS OR AMMUNITION TRANSFERS TO AGENTS OF DRUG CARTELS. Can you believe it? This is one “gun control” point I can get behind.

Do Something

The Senate put together 80 pages of legislation on “gun control” in 8 days. It does nothing to address the actual problem of murdering psychopaths hitting soft targets and police choosing to stand down when children are in danger. But, the outcry to “do something” is always heard. Now they can say they did something with this “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act”.

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